From his master’s degree in counseling to his position as head of a college freshman learning retention program, Arthur Watson’s life is about helping students. That’s probably because he remembers what a difference a little help can make. “I had some valuable assistance through Student Support Services at Henderson. That really helped guide me toward working in higher ed,” he says. As a Reddie Ambassador, Arthur, B.A. ’00, M.S. ’03, helped give campus tours and share his love for Henderson with prospective students.
His own passion for the university came about as a result of talking to other Reddies. “Talisha Givan was my peer leader at Heart Start,” he recalls. “Her energy was contagious and you could tell she loved Henderson and the experience she had there. We still keep in touch today.”
As an undergraduate student, Arthur was very involved in student life on campus as a member of the gospel choir Angelic Voices for Christ, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and Heart and Key. He also was a member of the production team for HTV which, along with his bachelor’s degree in communications, he says helped him gain a good foundation of communications skills. After graduation, he decided to stay around campus and pursue a master’s degree in counseling so that he could continue working with students. To help fund his degree, he chose a career doing what he loved best, promoting the university as a Henderson admissions counselor. He later worked in the Career Service Office and for the Educational Talent Search, a part of Henderson’s Educational Opportunity Center.
Arthur also worked for three years in the office of then-president Dr. Charles Dunn. He says that this experience was very influential in leading him toward a career in higher education administration. “I always told Dr. Dunn that I wanted his job and he told me that he was keeping the seat warm for me,” he says. Being in the office gave him a firsthand glimpse of the inner workings of a university. He says the skills he gained there he was able to take with him into his current administrative position.
Today, Arthur is completing his dissertation in Organizational and Community Leadership at Texas A&M University. The degree will open doors to a variety of areas related to education and serving people, which is his ultimate goal. He currently is assistant director of General Academic Programs at Texas A&M and works with Aggie Access Learning Communities, a service that helps about 400 freshmen adjust to college life each year through peer mentoring and other opportunities. He says his favorite part of the job involves the students: “Interacting with students. I think that’s my number one passion. You make a difference in the students’ lives and the direction that they take.”